Four games each in Bay Rivers District baseball and softball have been moved up to Thursday because of the threat of rain Friday. That includes two first-place showdowns: Lafayette (6-1) at York (7-0) in baseball at 4:30 p.m. and New Kent (7-0) at Smithfield (6-0) in softball at 4:30 p.m.
Here is the schedule of baseball and softball games moved to Thursday: Lafayette at York, New Kent at Smithfield, Bruton at Poquoson and Warhill at Tabb. All games at 4:30 p.m.
Lafayette’s ‘biggest game’
Rick Schenk readily admitted that the first-place showdown was the biggest game in his four seasons as Lafayette’s coach. It is arguably as big a game as the Rams have played since reaching the 2005 Region I semifinals.
The Rams prepped for the showdown with a big 3-1 victory Tuesday over crosstown rival Jamestown. Solomon McCray led the Rams with two hits, accounting for all three RBIs.
McCray, a junior, is swinging a hot bat in district play, with 13 hits in 24 at-bats, for a .542 batting average, to go with 15 RBIs.
“He’s more patient this season,” Schenk said. “He’s usually an aggressive hitter. If it’s close, he’s swinging.”
The Rams got strong pitching performances from Daniel Blankinship and Tyler Kirby against Jamestown. Schenk will start either freshman Luke Lipcius or junior Mark Rivera against York.
Lipcius is the Rams’ hardest thrower, while Rivera is among the team’s craftiest pitchers.
Falcons scoring big
York enters the showdown averaging better than 11 runs per game in district play. The Falcons put up big numbers again in their 12-1 win Tuesday at Bruton.
Leading the way at the plate were Trevor Kelly, who went 2-for-4 with a double, a grand slam and five RBIs, and Josh Smith, who had three hits and two RBIs. Sophomore Eric Harp picked up the win on the mound.
Tabb battling injuries in soccer
When Tabb rolled to a dominant 3-1 win over defending Group AA state champ Jamestown in late March, it was easy enough to envision the Tigers, a state tourney participant the past two seasons, as a AA title contender themselves. Injuries might have changed that.
The Tigers lost dynamic midfielder Ali Alkubaisse to a broken collarbone via a hard tackle in the 1-1 tie with York. He will miss at least seven weeks, if not the rest of the season, and his absence has the Tigers searching for answers.
“We’re trying to find our identity and we can’t find our style of play,” Tabb coach Scott Kuhnle said. “We’ve become a run-of-the-mill team, and we’re going to have to scrap for everything.”
The Tigers will be another five weeks or so without Daniel Kern, who looked terrific in anchoring the Tabb defense in the first half of the Jamestown game. Kern injured his back in the final seconds of that contest.
Jamestown High boys soccer coach Bobby O’Brien has been promoted to technical director of the Virginia Legacy Soccer Club in Williamsburg. That position puts him in charge of the entire Legacy program, although O’Brien will continue in his position as director of coaching.
“I’m very thrilled to be in that position,” O’Brien said of his new job with the Legacy. “It’s something I’ve been working my entire career for: working youth camps and entire summers as an intern for the soccer club.
“I love soccer in this community and on the Peninsula in general. Tonight (when his Jamestown team played York on Tuesday), I was able to look on the field and see 12 or 13 Legacy players out there at the same time, and they were most of the better players on the field.”
Lafayette distance runners Kurtis Steck and Jason Menzies have been invited to run the open 3,000 at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia later this month.
Steck and Menzies were second and third, respectively, in the AA state indoor meet 3,200 and ran legs on the runner-up 4x800 relay to help the Rams finish second in state team standings.